We are all exhausted and depleted after a hard year. As this year comes to a close, I started reflecting on what has depleted me and what can fill me up. I realized that last year about this time I was also reflecting about sources of exhaustion and what to do about it. This year I have another layer to add. I came across a list of “specific rest needs” identified by Sandra Dalton-Smith, MD, an internal medicine doctor and author of Sacred Rest. I have adapted that list to share with you.
Types of Rest
- Creative – space for creativity, feeling inspired and motivated
- Mental – quieting your mind, clarifying what is really important
- Physical – physical rest is what helps your body feel rested, strong, and healthy. This can include both physical rest as well as exercise/movement that energizes you.
- Social – time or connection with people who enhance your life
- Emotional – being able to express who you are and what you are feeling
- Sensory – rest from background noise, clutter, negative self-talk, and technology
- Spiritual – feeling like you are a part of something larger than yourself, belonging, being centered and in touch with yourself
What came up for you when you read this list? Sadness at how many types of rest have been missing this year? Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that so many types of rest may be difficult to get as much of as you need, or in the same way you usually get them? Relief to be able to identify where you are depleted, so you can find a way to get the specific types of rest you need?
Go through each type of rest and reflect on it. How do you normally get this type of rest? What are ways you’ve been able to get some of this rest in surprising ways this year? I like to call these the silver linings of a very hard year. Which of these types of rest are most crucial for you to having a sense of well-being?
For me, I have a 6-week old and an almost-3-year-old, so my current exhaustion is largely physical from round-the-clock infant care on top of running around after a toddler. However, I feel more rested and renewed than I have all year because I have more space during maternity leave for mental rest (at least when daycare is available). I also miss many of the in-person connections I had pre-COVID, but I also have the silver lining of being able to attend my sister’s yoga classes across the country because they are on-line.
My husband laughs at me because it’s hard to get me to “rest,” which means it’s hard to get me to nap. But that is because other forms of rest are a bigger priority for me – taking a walk every day and having mental space come first, then if there is time for a nap, I’ll take care of that rest need. How can you prioritize your rest needs, so you can refuel in the ways you most need?
We’ve been through a hard year. Give yourself a hug and a pat on the back that you’ve made it through. In what areas are you in desperate need of increasing rest? Are there any ways you can rest that are more available to you now than they were before? Can you give yourself space to grieve the ways you are not able to meet your rest needs at this time?
If you’d like a space to process this and get support, please contact me. I’ll be back from maternity leave on January 4 and available for sessions at that time.